- By ALEX BROWN
- Photos Courtesy of DISNEY
For years it seemed as if the Star Wars universe had gone dormant, far, far away. Following the release of episodes one, two and three, it would be years before the franchise had new life breathed into it by the likes of J.J. Abrams, who seems to turn all he touches to gold. And following on the heels of The Last Jedi, released in late 2017, the Star Wars fandom will have new reason to celebrate in May when Solo: A Star Wars Story is released.
Solo will be the second such story that lives outside of the mainline narrative arc of Luke, Leia and Vader. The first—Rogue One—launched into theaters in 2016 to the thunderous applause of movie goers everywhere. A lead up to the events in A New Hope (the first of the franchise that treated film lovers in 1977), “Rogue” explored the fatal-for-many mission to obtain the now-legendary plans to the Death Star that led the rebels to victory in the original trilogy.
The new addition to the Star Wars universe takes the same tack, illuminating the past of everyone’s favorite bad boy, Han Solo, played by Alden Ehrenreich (Beautiful Creatures, Hail, Caesar!). Notoriously in debt to Jabba the Hutt and tied at the hip to his ever-faithful companion, Chewbacca, Solo lived a life of smuggling, rubbing elbows with the galaxy’s most loathsome characters before turning into a force for good. But heroics aside, we all want to know what happened in those years before joining the resistance. We saw his death in The Force Awakens, and now it is time to learn about his earlier days.
Described as a “space Western,” Solo promises to be jam-packed with action, intrigue, catchy one-liners, and all of the savage charm of Han himself. While there is wide speculation on the plot, what we do know is that we finally get to see the space cowboy meet his best friend and confidant, Chewbacca, and also the infamous Lando Calrissian, played by Donald Glover (Magic Mike XXL, The Martian).
The film is also bringing together a dream team of writers, producers and directors. Produced, of course, by Lucasfilm, the screenplay was a joint effort by father-and-son team Lawrence and Jonathan Kasdan. The elder—Lawrence—is of course no stranger to Solo as co-writer on The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi, and The Force Awakens. The movie is also directed by Ron Howard, Hollywood legend in his own right.
And where the team that put together the film is a virtual who’s who, the cast takes no back seat either. In addition to Ehrenreich and Glover, Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen on Game of Thrones) sheds her conqueror-come-lately robes as Mother of Dragons, to take on a new leading-lady role as Qi’ra, one of Solo’s best friends. Woody Harrelson (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, War for the Planet of the Apes) joins the troupe as Tobias Beckett, referred to as Han Solo’s mentor. Finally, Thandie Newton (Westworld, Beloved) and Paul Bettany of Avengers fame join the cast, alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge as L3-37—Solo’s droid—and Finnish basketball player Joonas Suotamo as Chewbacca.
In addition, who can imagine a Star Wars story without its iconic sounds and themes? The Imperial March is synonymous with Darth Vader. Well for the new film, John Powell who has composed the score of beloved movies such as Antz, Chicken Run and Shrek, will do the heavy lifting for Solo, while longtime Star Wars composer John Williams will add his touch by contributing the Han Solo theme.
Taken as a whole, the film seems to have all of the right personalities and storylines in place. Add to that the allure and heritage of that galaxy far, far away – but in a theater near you now — and it looks like Star Wars lovers and newcomers to the franchise will have plenty to cheer for come late May.
“Solo: A Star Wars Story” opens worldwide on May 25th.